When as a child I first heard about philosophy and psychology — the love of wisdom and the study of the soul — I whispered to myself, “Oh, joy! To these subjects I will devote my whole and entire life.” Later, I found out that philosophy had become an academic game of defining definitions. And psychology had morphed into a two-headed monster: behavioral materialism on the one hand, and pharmaceutical target practice on the other. My heartfelt disappointment puddled under my feet like black, arterial blood. I was not a happy camper.
As neuroimaging became more sophisticated and neuroscientists began to explain their findings to laypeople like myself, it appeared that Reductionism and Materialism, the two pillars of the prevailing science paradigm, had hardened into unquestioned dogmas. OF COURSE, all thoughts are generated by brain cells and processes, much like fire is generated by rubbing two sticks together. Just as it’s hard to imagine fire arising from the act of drilling a dry stick into a dumb rock, so it may be hard to imagine thought arising from the low-level electrochemical activity of mute brainstuff. BUT IT’S TRUE!, shouts the scientist-priest. And it may well be.
But none of these physical findings can touch the conscious experience we call Self. They can’t explain the “hard problem” of David Chalmers’ subjective experience, nor the “spirit” of William James. Emotions, free will, near-death experiences, psi phenomena, mysticism — it may be in fashion to declare that they all have a physical foundation, but that declaration is far from proven.
Thinking is fun for me. Thinking about thinking is the most fun of all. I am not a professional philosopher or psychologist. But I’m real good at being my Self. This blog is devoted to the new and welcome trend toward once more studying the things about us that really make us human.
Join me in seeking our fortunes, seeking truth, seeking self.